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By Jocie Ferron

Ah spring, it’s just around corner. OK, maybe the next corner? Alright, after the next snowstorm?

This has been my mantra in recent weeks while hoping for those beautiful warm spring days to arrive. I have begun consoling myself by buying tulip bouquets, going to garden centres and getting the BBQ ready. The white flag of surrender has been up for a few weeks now, winter definitely won this year. I have even found myself dreaming of snow melting and green grass, and after an extra 13 days off school due to snow days, myself and countless other parents are ready for this winter season to come to an end.

The last couple of months seem to have gone by in a blur of family life, study, travel (for myself and my hubby) and a snow storm which dumped upwards of 50cm. So seriously, for an Aussie in Canada, I was amazed by the massive amount of snow that fell out of the sky in that one storm. Oh and did I mention, the morning ‘snowpocalypse’ began (not to be confused with the earlier in the year ‘snowmaggedon’ which only bought 30cm), my hubby flew out for work on the last flight before they shut the airport?

Having only lived in Canada a couple of years, I still find that there is something eerie, yet exciting about being in the middle of a blizzard. The city shuts down, nobody leaves their houses, shopping centres are closed, public transport stops and there is only the sound of wind and snow hitting up against the house to keep you company, all the while hoping the electricity doesn’t cut out. I watched with growing trepidation the snow pile higher in the driveway and cursed silently when the snow plow came past and dumped a whole bunch more. By the end of this impressive storm the front of our driveway was at least twice my height!

Let’s just say I was not overly happy to be on my own with only my little snow blower to clean out the driveway, and I was grumpily cursing the darn mining industry for taking the hubby away this particular week!

Mr 7 went out to play and found himself stuck up to his shoulders in soft snow and was unable to extricate himself. Having not grown up with the white stuff, it was a bit of a pickle for me to try and figure out how to get him out of there.

"Travelling shoe on the other foot"

At the moment the travelling shoe is on the other foot, with me attending nursing classes in nearby cities. It has definitely been an eye-opening experience being the one to travel away from the family and Mr 7 has decided life is just not normal when mom isn’t around (insert mommy ego boost).

To be completely honest, I have always been secretly envious of my husband when he goes away for work, imagining long uninterrupted suppers and the quiet of the hotel room. Admittedly it has been thoroughly luxurious sitting at the pub after a long day of classes, drinking a local crafted beer and finishing my book. The quiet is nice, the freedom is a nice change, but gosh darn it I miss the craziness of my kids and family and feel like I am somehow missing out because I am not home.

But the beauty of this day and age is the ease with which we can connect to family, and I look forward to the Skype/FaceTime calls where I can, for a moment of the day, feel a part of the family.

So the Skype call starts… cue ‘Hi! Bye!’ from kids, grunts and monosyllables from the hubby who has just reached his patience limit after trying to get the kids bathed, fed, doing their homework and into bed by a reasonable time, and me trying hard to find out how the day went with kids who just don’t feel like talking to a computer.

Needless to say, miscommunication happens, words are taken the wrong way and instead of a nice relaxed chat, the call ends with my hubby and me grumpily saying goodbye.

Thankfully not every call is like that, and more often than not I have a relaxed time with the kids and the hubby, and it’s a great way to end the day. Being the absent one has definitely been a humbling and eye-opening experience, realizing that it’s not all fun and games for my hubby when he goes away for work as he too is missing the family and wanting to feel a part of it.

Often times, as the one left behind at home, it can be easy to forget that. Communicating over the computer or iPad can be hard, but isn’t it a wonderful tool to have at our disposal? We just have to remember that both sides can be stressed and words can often be misunderstood.

It’s not easy for either party, neither is having a better or worse time, it’s just different experiences.  


More articles from the joyful Jocie Ferron:

Australian nurse Jocie Ferron was volunteering in Mongolia when she met her French-Canadian husband, who was working in the mining industry. After a few years living in Australia they decided to settle in Canada with their two young children. They enjoyed a few years in a north Quebec mining town (where Jocie had daily adventures navigating life in French) and they've now settled in New Brunswick.